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Trump requests Modi to release Hydroxychloroquine ordered by US as scientists explore malaria drug for COVID-19

DNA logo DNA 05-04-2020

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US President Donald Trump has said that he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release the amount of malaria drug ordered by the United States after India last month banned the drugs for exports.

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. © Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug, is believed to be a successful treatment of coronavirus. The Trump administration is banking heavily on the treatment of coronavirus as the cases rose above 3 lakh.

In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Modi on Saturday, Trump said he made a request to release Hydroxycholoroquine for the US.

In pics: Aerial views of cities affected by COVID-19 

The export of Hydroxychloroquine was banned by India on March 25. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade, however, said that certain shipments on humanitarian grounds may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

At his daily news conference at the White House on Saturday, Trump said, "I called Prime Minister Modi of India this morning. They make large amounts of Hydroxychloroquine. India is giving it serious consideration." 

Also watch: Modi's appeal is to switch off lights, not appliances: Govt (Video by The Economic Times)

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The United States, which has now become the epicentre of the coronavirus, has recorded over 3 lakh cases or more than 25% of the total global cases of COVID-19. According to Johns Hopkins University tracker, the US has recorded 311,357 cases and 8,452 deaths from COVID-19. Health experts have projected that 100,000-200,000 people may die of coronavirus in the US. 

With scientists across looking for a cure to treat COVID-19 in absence of a vaccine, initial results have shown that Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug, can be used along with a combination of some other drug in treatment. The drug is being used in the treatment of about 1,500 COVID-19 patients in New York following a quick provisional approval from the US Food and Drug Administration last Saturday. 

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The Trump administration has made Hydroxychloroquine as part of its Strategic National Stockpile and has already stockpiled some 29 million doses. It is also looking to import some more from Indi, where it can be produced at a mass scale.

Without revealing the quantity of order placed, Trump said he would appreciate if India releases the amount.

"And I said I would appreciate if they (India) would release the amounts that we ordered," he said. 

Trump said that people in malaria affected-countries are less affected by coronavirus as they take Hydroxychloroquine.

Trump said that he would take Hydroxychloroquine, if needed.

"I think people should if it were me, in fact, I might do it anyway. I may take it, Ok? I may take it. And, I'll have to ask my doctors about that, but I may take it," he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

Follow the government's latest guidance on safeguarding yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, including travel advice within and outside the country. The World Health Organization has also busted some myths surrounding coronavirus. The Ministry of Health's special helpline is available at +91-11-23978046, ncov2019@gmail.com and ncov2019@gov.in.

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